I'm listening to "You Won't See Me," a song I would have listened and blogged about earlier today if Amtrak's Acela trains had freaking wi-fi. But that's a rant for another day.
"You Won't See Me" is one of those songs that's probably one of my secret favorites, in that I forget about it half the time among the abundance of riches that Rubber Soul has to offer. Poor "You Won't See Me," sitting on the album in between "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "Nowhere Man," both more acknowledged masterpieces-- and probably suffering by comparison to "I'm Looking Through You," the other song on Rubber Soul that's about Paul fighting with girlfriend Jane Asher. But I really, really like it. Like a lot of tracks from this album, it has more to it than meets the ear.
You know what's standing out to me on this particular time around? All the percussion. I don't think I've ever noticed before how intense Ringo's drumming here is-- which I totally acknowledge to be a frequent failing of mine; I am less good at listening for drums than I am for other stuff-- but on the introduction this time it was suddenly ALL I heard. Don't you love the cymbal-heavy opening? Lord knows I do. Then keep listening to it as the song goes-- he is playing some seriously awesome fills, for instance, at the pauses during the verse, after a line like "your line's engaged." It's a much more complicated fill than I think of Ringo ever doing. Then I think he actually simplifies, or lightens the touch on just the hi-hat or something, at the beginning the next verse-- the fill after "should want to hide"-- before coming in with a wallop on the next one. What a killer little detail that is. And of course all the crash cymbal on the refrain is awesome, as is the tambourine in the same spot, banging along with the vocal parts to give them that extra shot of emphasis and venom. Ringo, I apologize, because I truly never realized how much you tore up this track before now.
Of course, lots of other good stuff is happening too. Nice catchy melody, right? Very singable, except for when Paul holds that crazy note out on the verses-- on the last verse especially, when he sustains the "ee" vowel on "feeeeeels like years," it sounds like something between agony and rage. In addition to singing and playing the rocking bass line we've come to expect from him, Paul's also playing the piano, which along with the drums really dominates the texture here to me. I love it in the bridge hitting the block chords on the beat, which also keeps up the angry feel for me. And actually, although a lot of stuff sounds angry, the backup line that George and John are singing in that sweet oo-la-la falsetto very interestingly adds a note of good humor that keeps the song from getting quite as nasty as it could have gotten. There's that bit of irony that I love so well from the Beatles.
Poor Jane Asher-- I can't imagine that Rubber Soul is her favorite album, what with the vitriol Paul apparently needed to get out of his system here, but what a shame, because "You Won't See Me" rocks SO hard.
"You Won't See Me," released in the U.K. side A track 3 of Rubber Soul, December 3, 1965; in the U.S. side A track 3 of the decidedly suckier American version of Rubber Soul, December 6, 1965.